Almost two weeks after Daniel Fredenberg was shot to death at a home in Empire Estates in Kalispell, authorities have yet to say if anyone will be charged in connection with the incident.
“It is my intention to issue a formal decision early next week,” Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan said Wednesday.
Little about the shooting is known, other than limited information in a press release from the Kalispell Police Department.
Several 911 callers reported hearing gunshots in the subdivision the evening of Sept. 22, with one reporting that a man had been shot.
Officers arrived to find that Fredenberg, 40, had been shot multiple times. Fredenberg was taken to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for treatment but died shortly thereafter from his wounds, police said.
A 24-year-old man was detained for questioning but released.
The incident was investigated by the Kalispell Major Crime Unit and detective division.
Corrigan said he received a complete case file from the Kalispell Police Department on Monday. He said he has since reviewed the file with two other prosecutors in his office, Police Chief Roger Nasset, detectives and some family members of Fredenberg to discuss “perceptions of the case and the law.”
“I’m trying to get a hold of more family members. I’d like to talk to them and at least give them a chance to be heard before I announce my formal decision,” Corrigan said.
One family member, Daniel’s father, Ron Fredenberg, told a local television station that Corrigan cited several self-defense laws to explain to him why no charges would be filed against the shooter.
Corrigan declined to elaborate on his conversation with Ron Fredenberg but said he’s “not disputing anything he told the media.”
“I will say that the confrontation occurred at [Brice Harper’s] residence on Empire Loop and that the shooting took place in his garage,” Corrigan said.
That brings into play the “castle doctrine” and “stand your ground” statutes the Montana Legislature passed in 2009 regarding the use of lethal force when confronting an illegal or unwanted intruder.
“Long and short, if you believe you’re about to be assaulted in your own home, you’re under no obligation to call police before using deadly force,” Corrigan said.
Having reviewed the case file — which Corrigan refused to release because it still is considered confidential criminal justice information — Corrigan said he’s not sure where else he could go with the case.
“I’m still reviewing what I want to do. It’s a difficult case to make a decision on,” Corrigan said.
Nasset agreed with that assessment and said changes in state law have to be considered.
“Any time you have a homicide and somebody is dead at the end of the crime, and there’s the potential of charges not being brought, you want to make sure you do your due diligence in your investigation and uncover everything you can before you make a decision,” he said.
Reporter Tom Lotshaw may be reached at 758-4483 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.